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General History of the Western Indian Tribes 1851-1870 – Indian Wars

Up to 1851, the immense uninhabited plains east of the Rocky Mountains were admitted to be Indian Territory, and numerous tribes roamed from Texas and Mexico to the Northern boundary of the United States. Then came the discovery of gold in California, drawing a tide of emigration across this wide reservation, and it became necessary, by treaty with the Indians, to secure a broad highway to the Pacific shore. By these treaties the Indians were restricted to certain limits, but with the privilege of ranging, for hunting purposes, over the belt thus re-reserved as a route of travel. The United States, also, agreed to pay the Indians 850,000 per annum, for fifteen years, in consideration of this right. The boundaries assigned, by these treaties to the Cheyennes and Arrapahoes, included the greater part of the present Colorado Territory, while the Sioux and Crows were to occupy the land of the Powder River route. After a few years gold was discovered in Colorado, upon the Indian reservation, settlers poured in, and, after the lands were mostly taken up by them, another treaty was made, February 18th, 1861, to secure them in peaceful possession. By this compact the Indians relinquished a large tract of land, and agreed to confine themselves to a small district upon both sides of the Arkansas River and along the northern boundary of New Mexico; while the United States was to furnish them protection; pay an annuity of $30,000 to each tribe for fifteen years, and provide stock and agricultural implements for those who desired to adopt civilized modes of life. Until April, 1864, no disturbances had...

William Cody – “Buffalo Bill” His Life and Adventures – Indian Wars

One of the best known, and since the death of the renowned Kit Carson, probably the most reliable guide on the Western frontier, is William Cody, otherwise known as “Buffalo Bill.” His exploits have been the theme of a dozen novelists, and in the year just past (1870-72) his movements have been as accurately and frequently chronicled by the daily press throughout the country as they would have been had he been an official magnate of the highest degree. There is something especially attractive in the romance attending the career of one of these noted hunters, which never palls upon the reader. The picturesque surroundings, the distance from us of their scene of action, the wild, nomadic life of the frontiersmen, all have their charms. Of all the hunters now in the service of the United States, either on the Atlantic or Pacific Slope, or to the southward, Buffalo Bill has attained the most permanent celebrity. Of his boyhood but little is known, save that he was of Western birth and that his parents were of the humble class and were much respected in the sparsely settled district where “William” was born, and where for many years they resided. When quite young like Carson he imbibed a fondness for the life of adventure, which the profession of a hunter and trapper opened out, and finally he started out on his “own hook,” rifle in hand, to seek his own livelihood. For a few years nothing of importance marked his career. He, of course, underwent the usual perils and dangers which beset those who day after day permeate the trackless...

Explanation of Plot of Cheyenne Village Site on Sheyenne River – Tributary of Red River

Dr. O. G. Libby, of University, N. D., and Dr. A. B. Stout, of the New York Botanical Garden, who ten years ago examined this old Cheyenne village site on the Sheyenne River, most kindly consent that I should announce the results of their work there; and Dr. Melvin R. Gilmore, Curator of the Historical Society of North Dakota, where the maps and notes on this village site are deposited, agrees that the material should be published. This generous permission enables me to add to this paper the maps made in 1908 by Dr. Libby and Dr. Stout, as well as their recorded notes, which furnish some further details as to the village as they found it. The matter is of interest to students of the Plains tribes, who will be grateful to these gentlemen for the opportunity to learn the results of their inquiry. The north face of village (fig. 33) is on slope of about 45° to old river bed some 40 feet below. To east a gentle slope extends. A shallow and gently sloping ravine separates village from a round topped broad knoll by road evidently the burial ground. To the south a gently sloping level area extends. To the west a trail can be traced about 20 rods. It extends down slope to edge of marsh land where a spring is now located. No large, well defined refuse heaps are to be found. No traces of refuse heaps are to be found in village or along ditch. On the slopes of the bank facing old river channel are evidences of refuse especially near rings Nos....

Early Cheyenne Villages

Information as to the region occupied by the Cheyenne in early days is limited and for the most part traditional. Some ethnologists declare that Indian tradition has no historical value, but other students of Indians decline to assent to this dictum. If it is to be accepted we can know little of the Cheyenne until they are found as nomads following the buffalo over the plains. There is, however, a mass of traditional data which points back to conditions at a much earlier date quite different from these. In primitive times they occupied permanent earth lodges and raised crops of corn, beans, and squashes, on which they largely depended for subsistence. La Salle says that the Chaa – (?) Sharha – in 1680 told him that they lived about the head of the Great river, and Carver, in 1766, mentions the Schians as found in the great camp of Indians which he visited on the Minnesota river. The Schianese he says live further to the west. Nearly one hundred years later Riggs and Williamson repeat Sioux traditions which declared that in earlier times the Cheyenne had lived on the Minnesota river, but had moved westward. Two points of permanent occupancy by the Cheyenne seem to be generally accepted; one an earth-lodge village located on the Sheyenne river, a tributary of the Red river from the west – near the present Lisbon, in North Dakota – and the other two neighboring village sites on the Missouri mentioned by Lewis and Clark in 1804, pointed out to them by a Ree chief as having been formerly occupied by the Cheyenne. The village site near...

Cheyenne Genealogy

Researchers who believe they are descended from the Cheyenne will be limited in their research to the amount of records available which provide specific names, and even further, those records which provide proof of relationships. The first source for Cheyenne genealogy should be the Free US Indian Census Schedules 1885-1940 as they cover the years of 1885-1940 and you will likely only need to go back to a grandparent to find somebody alive in the 1930’s. Determining an ancestor in these records would verify descendancy, especially in those census after 1930 when the degree of Indian Blood is provided. Proving descent from records earlier then 1885 becomes much more difficult with the Cheyenne Nation. While there were certainly marriages between whites and Cheyenne prior to 1885, the knowledge of these marriages and official records showing proof are much more scant. The Cheyenne had a band of half-breeds which are mentioned both in the section on the divisions of the Cheyenne and bands of the Cheyenne Indians. While it is possible that the entire band is made up of half-breeds it is more likely that the band is named after their chief who was named half-breed. There is a list of people mentioned in the treaty of 14 October 1865 which contain several White-Indian marriages. it is unknown whether the Indians were Cheyenne or Arapaho, but at the time were part of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Confederacy: At the special request of the Cheyenne and Arrapahoe Indians, parties to this treaty, the United States agree to grant, by patent in fee-simple, to the following-named persons, all of whom are related to...

Otter Creek Homesteaders

Otter Creek flows north into Montana out of the highlands in Wyoming and empties into the Tongue River at Ashland. Capt. Calvin Howes developed one of the earliest ranches on Otter Creek. He arrived in Montana in the early 1880’s and established the Circle Bar O Ranch on the lower Powder River. In 1884, Captain Howes drove 2,000 head of cattle from Texas to Otter Creek and maintained a successful cattle operation that survived the disastrous winter of 1886-87. The Creek’s naming is attributed to Howes. In total there were 50 families, 246 people on Otter Creek/Tongue River – Little Chief’s band has 20 families with 101 people. In a letter dated August 18, 1882 from George Yoakum to Pres. Arthur he states that Chief White Bull’s band has settled along the Tongue River and some have built houses. He also states that some of Little Chief’s band visited the Cheyenne in August, 1882 and now want to settle in the Tongue River valley. In a report dated October 3, 1882 from Capt. Ewers, 5th Infantry, Ft. Keogh, MT to the Asst. Adj. General, Dept. of Dakota, he states there are 10 houses, nearly completed, on or near the mouth of Otter Creek, and “so situated so each would have 160 acres”. NameMenWomenBoysGirlsPoniesCattleWagonHidesCabinComments Bob Tail Horse11418 miles south of Otter Creek. House not finished. Hollow Log1348 miles south of Otter Creek. Little Chief's Band. White Frog1215Little Chief's Band White Bull14725121Medicine Man Tangles Horn Elk2214415 Gray Whisker111141 Buffalo Wallow (female)227104 Bear Skins Red Plume2226251Little Chief's Band Tall White Man (1)213321Father / Son Tall White Man (2)1144Father / Son Whitw Hawk1221251...

Tongue River Homesteaders

In January 1881, all of the Northern Cheyenne that were sent to Fort Keogh were eventually allowed to move south and take homesteads near the Tongue River and on Rosebud and Muddy Creeks under the Indian Homestead Act of 1875. However, in 1900, the Northern Cheyenne families were removed or agreed to move under duress off of their private or individual holdings on which the Army under General Miles’ command had helped them settle and placed on the newly expanded reservation. In 1884 the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation was created on unsurveyed lands north of Tongue River. The Reservation boundaries excluded 46 Northern Cheyenne families who had been encouraged to homestead along the east bank of the Tongue River and along Otter Creek. At the same time, 46 white homesteads, both legal and illegal, had been established within the boundaries of the Reservation. In 1901, the white settlers on the newly expanded reservation lands in the Tongue River valley were ordered to leave. The Federal government paid the 46 white settlers $150,445 for their “improvements” (buildings etc.) on the west side of the Tongue River and compensated the 46 Cheyenne families with only $1,150 for their homesteads on the east side. Descendants of these families argue that because the government never paid fair value for these homesteads and that they were promised the chance to return, they still have claims to this land. In a letter from George Yoakum to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, dated October 20 1882, he states that nearly all of Little Chief’s Band have arrived and are on the Tongue River, intending to take...

Sand Creek Massacre

On the night of November 28, 1864, about seven hundred and fifty men, cavalry and artillery, were marching eastward across the plains below Fort Lyon. There was a bitter, determined look on their hard-set features that betokened ill for some one. For five days they had been marching, from Bijou Basin, about one hundred and fifty miles to the northwest, as the crow flies, but some fifty miles farther by their route. When they started the snow was two to three feet deep on the ground, but, as they progressed, it had become lighter, and now the ground was clear. The night was bitter cold; Jim Beckwith, the old trapper who had been guiding them, had become so stiffened that he was unable longer to distinguish the course, and they were obliged to rely on a half-breed Indian. About one third of the men had the appearance of soldiers who had seen service; the remainder had a diversity of arms and equipments as well as of uniforms, and marched with the air of raw recruits. About half a mile in advance were three men, the half-breed guide and two officers, one of the hitter of such gigantic proportions that the others seemed pygmies beside him. Near daybreak the half-breed turned to the white men and said: “Wolf he howl. Injun dog he hear wolf, he howl too. Injun he hear dog and listen; hear something, and run off.” The big man tapped the butt of his revolver in an ominous way, and replied: “Jack, I haven’t had an Indian to eat for a long time. If you fool with...

Desire to Punish the Cheyenne Indians

It is equally certain that the desire of punishing these Indians was increased, with loyal people, by the belief that their hostility was produced by Southern emissaries. How far their hostility was so produced will never be definitely known, but there was reason for the belief, without doubt. Soon after the beginning of the war the insurgents had occupied Indian Territory and enrolled many Indians in Confederate regiments. The loyal Indians tried to resist, but, after two or three engagements, about seven thousand of them were driven into Kansas. From the men among them three regiments were organized, and the women and children were subsisted out of the annuities of the hostiles. In the latter part of 1862, John Ross, head chief of the Cherokees, announced officially that the Cherokee nation had treated with the Confederate States, and, as is well known, there were several regiments of Indians in the regular Confederate service, besides numbers in irregular relations, among whom were Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Osages, Seminoles, Senecas, Shawnees, Quapaws, Comanches, Wachitas, Kiowas, and Pottawattamies, and none of them regained friendly relations with the United States until the treaty of September 21, 1865. On the south of Colorado the Comanches and Kiowas were at war, with Southern sympathies. The Mescaleros had taken the warpath on the advance of the Texans. To the north it was the same. The Sioux troubles all originated in Minnesota, and concerning them our Consul general in Canada, Mr. Giddings, wrote at the time: “There is little doubt that the recent outbreak in the Northwest has resulted from the efforts of secession agents operating through...
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